It was no laughing matter for comedian and Brooklyn native Tracy Morgan Friday when he received the key to the New York City borough where he grew up.
Morgan choked up and fought back tears on Friday as Brooklyn bequeathed the key to the borough to him on Friday.
“I’m from Brooklyn … I’m in service to you,” Morgan told the gathering convened by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “This is my way to heaven. I always thought that way.”
Morgan grew up in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bed-Stuy and has given back in various ways over the years, including renovated parks, refurbished basketball courts and talks to young people about the importance of education.
Morgan is the creator and star of television’s “The Last O.G.,” a show on TBS focused on the life of a formerly incarcerated man who returns to his old neighborhood and is shocked by the changes that he sees. The show has filmed mostly in Brooklyn, which is undergoing widespread gentrification.
The show aims to capture the spirit and atmosphere of the borough before neighborhoods were gutted and newcomers arrived. On Friday, Adams praised Morgan’s show for trying to capture this era, Patch reported. Morgan himself evokes the spirit of old Brooklyn, Adams said.
“When you hang out with him you feel no different than hanging out with someone standing on the corner of Tompkins Avenue with a Colt 45,” Adams said.
Outside of shooting in the borough, the show has contributed directly to grassroots efforts in Brooklyn, according to Patch.
Morgan was co-host of a comedy night that raised $14,000 for the Fortune Society, a nonprofit organization that helps formerly incarcerated people adjust to life outside of prison, Patch reported. The show also has partnered with State Bags, a Brooklyn-based company, to give bags to young people in Brooklyn.
“Tracy never brags,” actor Clifford Smith, also known as Method Man, told Patch.
Smith attended the gathering.
“I had no idea that he did these things,” Smith said.